Earth May Be a 1-in-700-Quintillion Kind of Place
One of the most fundamental requirements for a planet to sustain life is to orbit in the “habitable zone” of a star — the “Goldilocks” region where the temperature is just right and liquid water can exist. Astronomers have, to this point, discovered around 30 exoplanets in the habitable zones of stars. Simply extrapolating that figure based on the known number of stars suggests that there should be about 50 billion such planets in the Milky Way alone. Probability seems to dictate that Earth-twins are out there somewhere.
But according to Zackrisson, most planets in the universe shouldn’t look like Earth. His model indicates that Earth’s existence presents a mild statistical anomaly in the multiplicity of planets. Most of the worlds predicted by his model exist in galaxies larger than the Milky Way and orbit stars with different compositions — an important factor in determining a planet’s characteristics. His research indicates that, from a purely statistical standpoint, Earth perhaps shouldn’t exist. More.
But we shouldn’t delude ourselves that facts matter here. Naturalism will not be cheated of its insignificant Earth as long as great graphics can supplant evidence and reason. Which is a long time. What is at stake is an entire firmly entrenched worldview, which has well-rewarded those who have laboured to make our entire culture reflect it.
As Evolution News & Views notes,
One in 700 quintillion is “a fairly lucky hand,” a “mild statistical anomaly”? As Scharping points out, that is one in seven zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero. I’m not sure if the understatement is intended to be droll. But note the last sentence: Statistically speaking, “Earth perhaps shouldn’t exist.” Read the rest.
That’s “terrifying” all right if the image of humanity you carry around in your head is the one associated with materialism, insisting that we are ordinary, unexceptional, hairless apes, cosmic flotsam, hardly worth a yawn. More.
That vision has launched countless fortunes and positions of power and influence. Don’t expect the beneficiaries to let it die quietly.
And as Creation-Evolution Headlines notes,
Speculations about alien habitats have not slowed down, of course. Steven J. Dick has a new book on the subject with the usual talking points (see Astrobiology Magazine review). Space.com expanded the search space to “exomoons” around exoplanets, complete with references to Hollywood movies about Endor’s Ewoks and Pandora’s Na’vi. One must remember, however, that hosting life requires more than an appropriate-sized planet in a suitable location. A Harvard press release points out that Earth-like planets will need to have Earth-like interiors, too. And Becky Oskin at Live Science points out that alien life would be vulnerable to greenhouse effects on their worlds (think Venus). That kind of warming is as powerful as proximity to the sun. Given an increase in carbon dioxide, “A planet like Earth will eventually change to a very warm climate, and it will occur relatively abruptly,” one researcher said. More.
National Geographic is quoted there, invoking the multiverse:
Yet the universe’s overwhelming size all but guarantees that Earth-like planets exist, as a matter of probability. Along this line of thinking, some physicists argue that, like Earth among planets, our universe is one of innumerably many—but that ours happens to have the conditions that allow us to exist. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here to study and write about it.
Proponents of this multiverse model claim that it neatly explains our universe’s habitability, but many scientists find it irritatingly circular in its reasoning. More.
There are now treatments for the problem of needing science to avoid circular reasoning.
See also: Breaking, breaking: Earth is special after all
Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
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